Saskatchewan: A Kiteboarder's Paradise

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If asked to name Saskatchewan’s definitive traits, “flat”, “spacious” and “windy” would likely make the list. Regardless of how you perceive these characteristics, one thing is for certain: they make for perfect kiteboarding conditions. In fact, Saskatchewan is widely revered as the ultimate playground for this activity. Our climate is so ideal due to the aforementioned descriptors: we’re very flat, often windy and offer an abundance of unoccupied space - especially in the winter while crops are out of commission.

 

Okay, so we live in a province that can easily facilitate this niche activity...but what exactly IS kiteboarding? I asked this very question when a friend suggested I give it a try.  In essence, Kiteboarding is like snowboarding but instead of using gravity as the catalyst for motion, you use a kite and the wind to pull you along a flat terrain. I’ve snowboarded before...so how hard could this be?

 

The correct answer is: very hard. It didn’t take me long to learn that this is definitely not an inherent skill. The coordination needed to succeed on a kiteboard is very specific and isn’t an ability that you can recycle from another board-based sport. Fortunately, there are great teachers out there who can help you find your center of gravity.

 

 

I was coached by Aaron Hackle, one of the founding members of Explore Sports based out of Regina. He took me to a desolate area just North of Regina where local kiteboarders have been permitted to play. I was lucky enough to be able to go out on a perfect day with high winds. The downside was that the good conditions resulted in many other kiteboarders who had a front-row view as I wiped out time and time again.

 

Before I even got on the board, Aaron assured me that this is the type of thing that you will only get good at by falling on your face a few times. And he was right - it’s a very specific muscle memory that, given enough time, anyone can achieve. By the end of my three-hour lesson, I was confidently gliding across the prairie tundra. I by no means resembled the regulars who were quite literally flipping and flying around me, but I had developed a basic understanding of the kite and the board.

 

After I wrapped up my lesson I warmed up in the CAA Wanderer-mobile and just watched in awe as the advanced borders defied gravity and performed unthinkable aerial stunts. If you don’t think your body and ego can handle the rough-and-tumble learning curve that comes with this sport, you should at very least take it in as a spectator - it’s truly incredible to watch.

 

The end of winter doesn’t mean the end of kiteboarding season either! In just a couple of months we will be able to transition from the fields to the water (where the falls might hurt a little less). Aaron Hackle and Explore Sport can provide lessons almost year-round for both variations of the activity. I’m hoping to give it another try in the summer!

 

For more information on Kiteboarding and lessons go to:

http://www.exploresports.ca